Majimoji Rurumo – 09

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As little side stories in the main narrative between Rurumo and Kouta, the show delved into the worlds of side characters: namely, Sumiko, Harulily, and this week, Shimomura Masako of the Disciplinary Committee. A less precise comedy would have mocked Masako’s secret passion for otaku, but MMR treats it earnestly, as Masako is not only passionate, but hardworking and driven. When she speaks loftily of the joy of completing a costume and striking a pose, its a sense of accomplishment any creative person can relate to.

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When her otakuness is first revealed in an earlier episode, it seems mostly there for gags, as cosplay is a part of Japanese culture in which real witches would be mistaken for fellow members. And indeed, Masako has no idea Rurumo’s an real witch. But it isn’t because she doesn’t believe her, it’s that she assumes anything Rurumo says on such topics is merely roleplay. And because she admires Rurumo’s “devotion” to “full-time cosplay”, it’s not something she’d ever question.

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In that same vein, Rurumo simply isn’t the person who’d think there’d be anything wrong about telling her peers about Masako’s passion, even though Masako treats it as yet another betrayal by a friend who was too good to be true. Rurumo sets her straight, but not consciously, simply by continuing to be a decent person who likes Masako and admires the work she does and the infectious enthusiasm she radiates. Thus a new friendship is borne. I’ll also note, the Sone Miku OP leading into a montage that ends with the song on the radio…that was a really slick sequence.

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The first half of the episode built up a lot of goodwill, so the second half, devoted to boobs and bras, went down a little easier. But full of boobs and bras it may be, the segment still stays true to its characters. When the strap of Ruru’s 170 year old “chestpiece” snaps, she has to go braless, and her well-documented bashfulness kicks in when she’s near Kouta. But because we know Kouta’s a stand-up guy when the chips are down, he reads her strange behavior as a sign something’s wrong, and only wants to help.

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Rurumo may be slow to learn things, but she’s no slouch when it comes to utilizing available resources—or at least crashing into them. Rurumo asks Masako to make her a bra, and Masako admits it’s not really her specialty, but she talks to a few people on the subject and they talk to other people and all of a sudden seemingly every girl in school is on the case, which of course makes her even more self-conscious. When Rurumo shows everyone what she’s looking for, they show her theirs, indicating there’s another, better, more personal way to keep the twins at bay, big or small.

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MMR lays the oppai on thick, but the discussion is all very practical and realistic, and even leads to a rift between the amply bestowed and the…ahem…less amply bestowed. They all go shopping with Rurumo, escorted by the buxom Officer Ruri, and Kouta tags along, but not because he’s being a perv, but because he’s still worried Rurumo isn’t well (Considering she recently marathoned three days’ worth of anime sans sleep, it isn’t a ridiculous notion!). So even when she dons her frilly new pink bra under her clothes, Kouta reacts not with arousal, but relief she “recovered” from her unspecified malady.

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Glasslip – 10

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Last week started out with everyone separated; isolated in their own worlds, but Sachi’s gambit began the work of repairing the bonds that had been strained. She confesses not just to Hiro, but Touka as well. It’s very cute, and the good vibes carry over into this week, as Hina certainly notices a more cheerful Touka as she shows off the dress Yana gave her.

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Like Sachi, Yana-chan also fixed things her way, with the intricate texts of the running route. Yuki returns this week, and this will be the first time they meet since realizing there might be something there between them. Their long-awaited reunion is strategically deferred for dramatic effect, as Yuki traces her steps a bit and even hides when she runs by.

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Instead of interrupt her run, he decides to meet her at home with towel and water bottle in hand, just as she’s met him countless times before. It’s a beautifully understated reconciliation, but true to these two’s personalities, very little is said aside from salutations. He welcomes her back, she welcomes him back…and they mean it. They missed each other.

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Kakeru misses Touka, who’s stayed away ever since her disturbing mind-trip. With all the making up going on (including that Hiro and Sachi), Kakeru and Touka, the central romantic pair, begin the episode far apart. Touka decides to end the Kakeru embargo, but he’s out hiking. His mom invites her to tea in Kakeru’s tent, and his dad joins them too.

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In addition to showing her how he turned up so weird, Touka’s tea time with his folks also rekindles her desire to learn more about him, especially now that she knows how nomadic a life he’s led due to his mom’s profession. She also learns how his childhood was marked by bouts of “sudden, unexpected loneliness” as well-established circles of friends he entered into late got into “festival mode” and forgot about him.

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The rift that had grown between Touka and Kakeru closes considerably, and like Hiro and Machi or Yuki and Yana, the two independently realize how fond they are of the other, and how much they miss each other. The one to finally reunite them is none other than Touka’s favorite schoolyard chicken, Jonathan, who leads Touka to outside the art room where Kakeru is waiting.

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While she cant be blamed for being very freaked out by her visions of snow, Touka has found her courage, and the desire to learn more about them and Kakeru overrides her fear. She also confides in Kakeru that they kissed in in that snowy vision, which leads to them kissing in real life. While old bonds had frayed among the circle, new, deeper bonds have been forged in these last two episodes. And maybe, hopefully sometime soon, more answers will come.

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Zankyou no Terror – 08

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Following the Battle of Haneda, Five proves not particularly gracious in defeat, but she’s intent on winning the war, no matter how many rules she has to break or how much blood is spilt. To that end, she targets Sphinx’s weak link—Lisa—just as a lion goes for the weakest prey.

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Her attack isn’t exactly subtle: delivering a timed bomb to Sphinx’s apartment that Lisa barely evades, but it gets the job done: without their hideout, Nine and Twelve feel more vulnerable than ever. More importantly, Five makes that situation all Lisa’s fault, so rather than stick around and cause them more trouble, Lisa decides to run off…right into Five’s clutches.

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On the other end of things, Shibazaki’s colleagues are thrown off the case entirely and get suspended for three months, while he’s all but fired, having to turn in his badge. I like how the show doesn’t let them off the hook for their blatant insubordination last week, but I also like how his lack of a badge doesn’t stop Shibazaki from pursuing the case anyway, even going to his semi-estranged daughter for insight into nuclear weapons.

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Between the public record, police archives, an interview with a politician tied to the organization that instigated the “Athena Project”, and orphanage visits, Shibazaki starts to piece together who Sphinx (and likely Five) are orphans the government spirited away and basically fucked with. The more he learns, the more he starts to feel for Sphinx; while they’re called “terrorists” in this day an age, there was a time when they’d be, as he says, “something else.”

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Nine and Twelve are doing what they’re doing because they’re evil and hate civilization, but because they were wronged, and the government that wronged them must reap what it has sown. Twelve entertains the possibility of backing out, forgetting that they’re in far too deep to back out. But when Lisa runs off, his mission with Nine becomes secondary. At the end of the day, asking someone to join them or die wasn’t much of a choice, as Lisa fiercely wants to stay alive no matter what.

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As such, Twelve is guilty for involving her and won’t allow her to be a casualty in their feud with Five and the government. It’s not exactly love, but it’s concern; a degree of genuine humanity that all of the horrors of Athena Project couldn’t tear away in the end. If Twelve is going to die, he’ll die protecting Lisa. I gotta say, things aren’t looking good for them, but Shibazaki is close to blowing the whole thing open; it’s a matter of how far he can (and will) go to pursue the justice the higher-ups won’t.

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